More than half of all web traffic now originates from mobile devices such as cell phones. That’s why it’s absolutely critical that your website is responsive and automatically adjusts for smaller screen sizes.
But having a mobile-friendly, responsive website isn’t enough. You also need your pages to load very fast on mobile devices. That’s the idea behind Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP.
Get AMPed Up
Accelerated Mobile Pages is an open-source initiative. AMP provides a library for creating web pages that load nearly instantaneously for users, seeking to deliver a better mobile experience.
AMP pages use HTML with restrictions for better performance, an AMP JS library for fast rendering, and can use the Google AMP Cache to serve stored pages from a website.
If this all seems a bit technical, don’t worry. There are WordPress plugins that will make it easy for you to implement AMP.
Why You Should Consider AMP
There are two main reasons to consider using AMP for your website.
With AMP, your pages will load much faster on mobile devices. Studies show that faster-loading pages lead to less abandonment. Some e-commerce stores have reported higher conversions with AMP.
The other key reason you might consider AMP is thanks to Google. Google is one of the backers of AMP and has been encouraging site owners to implement AMP.
Technically, AMP alone won’t improve your search rankings. However, there are some immediate benefits that could increase your traffic.
Google is about to consider site load time on mobile devices in its algorithms that determine site ranking. It also can’t hurt to have fewer people click on your listing and quickly return to Google because your site takes too long to load. AMP will help with that.
Also, AMP pages are required for news sites if they want to have their content included in the “Top Stories” news carousels on mobile devices, like this:
This is one of the reasons news sites quickly adopted AMP.
AMP pages also have a small lightning bolt designation next to them in Google search results on mobile devices. This could draw more attention to the search result and even increase click-throughs if people know that the page will load quickly.
The Downsides of AMP
Fast pages and extra love from Google. What’s not to like?
There are two main reasons you should think twice before using AMP.
- Your pages will be stripped of many of the elements you probably use today. You might have to adjust the ads on your page and various tracking services. Things like email opt-in pop-ups and overlays aren’t going to work. Some sites report better conversion metrics with AMP but others have had the opposite result.
- If you ever decide AMP isn’t for you, switching back can be a pain. Most AMP implementations involve new URLs for your site with /amp at the end. Google will then index the URLs with AMP in them, not your main URLs. If you get rid of AMP, you’ll need to take a few steps including redirecting the AMP URLs to your regular URLs.
How to AMP Your Site
While AMP can be technical, there are a couple of plugins for WordPress that make using AMP simple.
- AMP for WordPress was created by WordPress.com, Google, and other contributors. It has over 200,000 active installations.
- The similarly named AMP for WP is more feature-rich and was created in a way to help you get as many benefits as possible from AMP. The plugin is free but there are paid add-ons to get more benefit from the AMP traffic you get, such as inserting email opt-in forms that comply with AMP. It has over 100,000 active installations.
These plugins both include more information about what is included in the plugin and installation instructions.
Is AMP Right for You?
So, is AMP right for you? That depends.
There are immediate benefits for sites that are in Google News. There can also be immediate benefits for sites that have a slow mobile experience.
Before you switch to AMP, it makes sense to understand your existing site analytics and to make a plan for measuring the results you get with AMP. If you haven’t done so before, you should install the Google Analytics tracking code to your website (or use a plugin) and track your site data for a while beforehand, and then compare with the data once you install AMP. Then you will be able to compare your search traffic, bounce rates, and conversion rates to see if AMP has helped your site or not.
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